"Officials in Charlottesville, Va., removed statues of Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson on Saturday—and followed up with a lightning-fast toppling of a third monument, a tribute to explorers Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and Sacagawea," reports the New York Post. The takedown came "nearly four years after violence erupted at the "Unite the Right" rally to protest its planned removal," also per the Post.
"The violence made national headlines, as did then-President Donald Trump's insistence that there was 'blame on both sides' for the bloodshed, the Post also reported. The riot also kick-started an ongoing nationwide debate over the presence of Confederate monuments in cities and towns across the country."
"Lee did not grow up on a large plantation, but his wife inherited a slave in 1857 from her father. ... As a result of his wife's inheritance, Lee became owner of hundreds of slaves," according to History.com, "While historical accounts vary, Lee's treatment of the slaves was described as being so combative and harsh that it led to slave revolts."
"Lee wasn't a secessionist, but he immediately joined the Confederates and was named general and commander of the South's fight for secession. Lee has been widely criticized for his aggressive strategies that led to mass casualties," the site continue, adding that "The Confederate general remains one of the most divisive figures in American history. Statues and other memorials built in his honor have become flashpoints in [major] cities. ... Many Robert. E. Lee statues have been removed ... While Lee did not support secession, he never defended the rights of slaves. Instead, he led the Confederates as they attempted to dissolve the United States that his own father helped create."
In 2020, a statue of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president who emancipated slaves (and never personally owned them), offended a group of ignorant people with voices loud enough to have the monument removed.
The most ridiculous part, according to one source, is that "[t]he Boston statue of Lincoln is actually a reproduction of the Freedman's Memorial in Washington, D.C. The original monument was financed by small contributions raised by black people, most of whom were emancipated slaves."
Do we really need to continue making the case that slavery was a heinous crime against humanity? Do Americans know or care that slavery continues in the 21st century in places like China? To believe that only Black slaves in the history of America matter is a crude and uninformed worldview.
To put things into perspective, historical accounts of slavery (dating back to the days of the Israelites in Egypt) prove it was an industrious economic system used to develop cultures and nations. Slaves, who were trained for battle, also provided a military advantage during wartime. Violent conquests and what we now call "human rights violations" were a way of life for numerous centuries. This is the truth and we need to remember it the way it happened.
When something is not visible, it is easily forgotten, as per the old saying, "Out of sight, out of mind." Proverbs 26:11 says, "As a dog returns to its vomit so a fool returns to his folly."
The United States will never be perfect, but there are those in society who work overtime to make hurting someone's feelings a punishable crime. Regardless of how disturbing we may find these statues, we should not relegate them to places people never go. Confederate monuments should remain in public spaces, instigating often-uncomfortable conversations about America's past, creating opportunities to learn from mistakes and observe how far we've come since the Civil War.
Americans should have easy access to the most accurate and truthful retelling of the nation's history. Viewing certain historical figures and events in abhorrence is one way to ensure future generations never repeat the past.
For more than a decade, Tiffany Benson's passion for writing has exceeded most of her other interests. When she's not catching up on politics or watching documentaries, she enjoys journaling, fiction and contributing to her blog bigviewsmallwindow.com. Find her on Facebook as well.
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